LaBolt compares Romney debate positions to Eastwood's 'empty chair'

"Well, listen, Gov. Romney delivered a great work of performance art last night," LaBolt told Fox News. "Something that I think Clint Eastwood would be proud of. But, on substance, his positions were just as empty as the chair that Mr. Eastwood had on stage."

LaBolt also looked to downplay the growing consensus that Romney upstaged the president in Wednesday's debate, saying that history "favors the challenger."

"The challenger has been viewed as having the stronger performance in five out of the last six debates," LaBolt said. "Simply because standing on stage next to the president of the United States for the first time adds stature."

The Obama aide went on to reiterate the statement, made repeatedly by the president's surrogates on Thursday, that Romney "is going to be held accountable for his statements in that debate."

"Gov. Romney locked himself into a number of positions last night, like recommitting to tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas," LaBolt said. "And a Medicare plan that would turn Medicare into a voucher and cost seniors more than $6,000 out of pocket for health insurance that won’t pay long term dividends for Mitt Romney.”

In a statement earlier Thursday, Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg dismissed the Obama team's post-debate spin.

"The campaign, like the President, offered no defense of the President’s first term record or vision for a second term, and instead, offered nothing but false attacks, petulant statements, and lies about Governor Romney’s record," Henneberg said.